Author: Ann Schiebert
Types of Reality Distortion Systems
I’m Not an Addict
This RDS has far reaching consequences. If drinking/drugging, are causing problems in a person’s life, and if there are negative consequences from using, chances are that there is a substance abuse/dependence issue. Addiction causes PERMANENT changes in the brain’s reward system, so that one’s main source of pleasure comes from using. The distortion system that surrounds keeping one’s drug/alcohol use in place permeates every level of one’s life. The distortion is also supported by codependents and enablers who believe that if only the addict would listen to them and, "change," that their own life would be healed.
It is crucial to remember that once one is addicted to a substance, that person will develop beliefs that enable him/her to keep using. Here is a very popular one: " I’m not an alcoholic because an alcoholic is a person in a soiled trench coat, who is passed out in the gutter with a wine bottle in a paper bag." If one doesn’t match the criteria of one’s image of an alcoholic, then no matter that they are drinking a bottle of wine a day, they are NOT addicts.
An addict will surround him/herself with others who use just as much. That way, the addict’s use looks, "normal," with others who share the same reality distortion system. "We just like to party." "There is something wrong with YOU if YOU think I have a problem….no one else thinks I have an issue." "I’m young and everybody experiments with drugs/alcohol." "My parents used/drank when they were my age, so why can’t I?" "My job is stressful so snorting Cocaine just helps me perform better." "I can’t sleep, so I smoke a bowl every night before I go to bed." Chances are that these beliefs keep this RDS in place, serve to protect one from looking at any negative consequences from their use, and become cornerstones in the addict’s life.
More on this very important RDS, next post!